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Back in the Nunalleq Lab

July 10, 2018

I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the crew this year as the project’s on-site conservator and to oversee lab activities. Thanks to Amanda, Ellie, Kostja, and Georgia, we have the lab up and running in the Nunalleq Culture and Archaeology Center and have accomplished quite a lot during our first week. Our first goal was to tackle the back log of wet wooden artifacts from last year’s excavation season that were stored in refrigerators at the Center. After cleaning the wood artifacts, we immersed them in a solution containing the bulking agent polyethylene glycol (PEG). Over several weeks, the PEG will replace excess water in the wood and provide support to the cellular structure. Eventually, the wood artifacts will be taken out of the solution, excess PEG removed from the surface, and then allowed to dry.

The container ‘farm’ with numerous wood artifacts immersed in the PEG treatment.

At the same time, we have also started cleaning some of the freshly excavated finds that the field crew has been delivering to the lab at the end of each day. It really feels like Christmas each time we open the crate. As we unpack the crate, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to view all the finds from each day. In the coming weeks, we look forward to continuing our work in cleaning and stabilizing the finds, ensuring their preservation for the years to come.

Francis

 

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